An 8-year-old girl is in Hawke's Bay Hospital after being
shot in the stomach with an air rifle by another child.
The incident happened at an address on State Highway 2, just
north of Wairoa, on Sunday, ambulance staff told Hawke's Bay
St John's Heretaunga territory manager Brendon Hutchinson
said yesterday the 8-year-old child was transported by
ambulance to Wairoa Hospital, with a moderate abdominal
Wairoa police Sergeant Aubrey Ormond said the child was
accidentally shot with an air rifle by another child. Police
had yet to speak to the other child involved in the shooting
and were still looking into the circumstances, Mr Ormond
The girl was transferred from Wairoa Hospital to Hawke's Bay
Hospital by the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter for
surgery on Sunday night.
The child was described as "comfortable" and "not at risk,"
Mr Ormond said.
A spokeswoman for Hawke's Bay Hospital said the child was in
a stable condition yesterday.
Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said while people had a
tendency to treat air rifles like toys, they could cause
"Most air rifles have a low velocity and are not considered
dangerous, but the reality is they can cause significant
injury and should be treated like any other firearm," Mr
"The rules that apply to any other firearm should be applied
and air rifles should certainly be kept out of reach of
children. In this instance, the child is lucky she wasn't hit
in the eye or face, or things could have been different."
Mr Shadbolt said it "is not uncommon" for people to be
injured through the irresponsible use of an air rifle.
"These children may not have known the difference between an
air rifle and a regular firearm, so she [the child] is very
A person over 18 did not need a firearms licence to buy an
air rifle, while a person under 18 did require a licence, Mr
The NZ Police Arms Code specified air rifles should be fired
only by a person who was over 18 or supervised by a person
over 18. It was important an air rifle was fired within a
safe area and that the pellets fired were contained within
the property of the owner through the use of a suitable
bullet trap or impact area.
Firing an airgun in a way that might endanger or frighten
anyone, or harm property, could mean a fine of $3000 and/or
imprisonment for up to three months.